Monticello Restaurant Beer Dream Team (Part Three)
Finally I am getting to completing the ideal beer backbone of the bar at Monticello in Davis. It’s been a long haul, waiting to see what would sell and what wouldn’t. Actually everything has sold well. Especially so, to my delight, the dark beers. I knew that we’d sell pretty much any IPA we could lay our hands on, and the Green Flash has pleased enough people, that I’d keep it as a baseline brew.
The bar is almost finished – the top is done, and the lights are installed. One day I will get video to show off their psychadelic nature, but for now, stills and your imagination will have to suffice.
Pale Ale – North Coast Brewing, Acme
Now I wanted to replace the Poleeko Pale Ale that we couldn’t get from Anderson Valley. Short of going out-of-state, I could think of no better solution than to obtain Acme Pale from North Coast. Now I’d tried this before and really enjoyed it, but that was on tap in Fort Bragg, and I felt I was taking something of a risk getting it in bottles. My standby had been the excellent Sierra Nevada Pale, but I need not have worried – this is a lovely pale ale, which is well suited to serving at “cellar temperature”, which turns out to be 54°F from the wine chiller.
Whilst I’d rather serve it at around 50°, it responds well, with a good head, bright colour and a great nose, a little floral hop backing up a nice biscuity malt, and a little caramel. The sweetness is in the flavour too, with a refreshing citrus in a fine medium body.
Very refreshing and easy to drink, it’s well suited to drink with pale meats, salads and the nuttier cheeses.
Belgian Dark – North Coast, Brother Thelonious
I’ve been a fan of this as long as I can remember, which is basically since I drank it at the brewery. It’s a fruit-cake of a beer, rich and dark, redolent of rum-soaked plum pudding, and with a flavour to match. It’s moderately sweet and with a little hop bitter at the finish, perfectly matched to strong, dark meats and sauces. The mouthfeel is generous for a beer that’s described as “medium strength”, well-rounded and warming too.
Equally, I’d drink it by itself as a winter warmer, but it’s in my favourite category of fully-flavoured-without-being-cloying. Not to everyone’s taste, it’s more like an old Zinfandel, but everyone should try it at least once.
Belgian Dubbel Style – Lost Abbey Brewery, Lost and Found
This is one of those beers that I felt every bar should have – made in the Dubbel style, it’s a great sharing brew in its 750ml bottle. Not that you shouldn’t enjoy it alone, but at 8% ABV, be careful if you do.
It’s a fascinating beer, made with a wide variety of malts as well as a custom-made raisin puree. It shows in everything – the spicy fruity and heady nose to the rich, fruit-chocolate flavour in a full body. Stop and listen carefully and you’ll get notes of nuttiness, cereal and fruitiness from citrus, figs and raisins. Not to mention toffee…
Pair with hearty meats or powerful cheeses. Or chocolate cake – who knows?
For My Next Trick…
I’m not quite sure what the future holds for me at Monticello. There’s not enough call for me to man the bar full-time in the evenings, at least not yet, so for now I’m acting as a consultant, picking beers and writing notes, and back to freelancing without a
safety net day job. Anyone who wants to hire a charming Englishman, with lots of chutzpah and the ability to write, let me know!